Homer Electric Association (HEA) members were given an opportunity in Kenai and Homer last week to learn about the latest advances in energy technology and conservation at HEA’s fourth annual Energy & Conservation Fair. The purpose of the fair according to Joe Gallagher is to help HEA members learn ways to reduce their energy costs, “It all started when we continued to get questions from our members about what they could do to reduce their electric bill. We can’t do a whole lot about the energy price because it is dictated by factors like fuel costs outside of our control, so we started to think about ways to manage consumption and reduce the amounts of energy used which translates into a lower electric bill. So we decided to gather the experts that understand this issue together in one setting and have our members ask their questions directly. We thought originally it would be a one year event but technology is changing so rapidly it needed to be an annual event in order to bring the latest information forward,” explained Gallagher.
Twenty five such experts gathered November 3rd at Kenai Middle School and November 10th at West Homer Elementary. From heating sources to hybrid cars recycling to solar and wind energy vendors were on hand to offer the latest information. “A hybrid is a vehicle that gives you the option of running off of electric power assisted by a gas powered engine which extends fuel efficiency, but still delivers good performance on Alaskan roads” said Kimberly Stalker of Stanley Ford. She noted that Stanley Ford has some hybrids coming in soon that will be available for test drives. With wind generators becoming more visible Ben Bachand, operations manager for Lime Solar, LLC was on hand to explain the latest in wind and solar energy availability, “Residential and commercial investment is going into wind generation today and we actually offer financing for residences as well as commercial uses with up to $40,000 available for residences. The payback depends on how much wind you have at your location, so we go out to your location and gather data with a data logger before we ever issue a quote so that we can estimate precisely what the payback will be, but it is usually less than ten years,” Bachand told the Dispatch.
The energy fairs also included door prizes and kids activities like recycling relays and a conservation voyage with HEA’s mascot Louie the Lightning Bug. “The Fair was a huge success thanks to the efforts of all our vendors. The Fair is a community event and this year a special thanks goes to our sponsors in the business community who helped make it happen. Gold sponsors this year include Hilcorp Alaska LLC, Touchstone Energy, Stanley Ford, and Tesoro. Silver sponsors were Home Depot, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Kenai Peninsula Builders Association, HiSpeed Gear, Brown’s Electrical Supply Co., Spenard Builders Supply, Grant Aviation, and Alaska Warm Wood,” said Gallagher.